7 essential habits to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke

Infarction, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases, such as hypertension and atherosclerosis, can be prevented by adopting some simple habits, such as exercising regularly and eating a balanced diet.

Cardiovascular diseases are one of the main causes of death in the world and, although some risk factors such as age, family history or sex cannot be changed, there are some habits that are able to prevent the appearance of these types of problems.

The following are 7 essential habits to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease:

1. Do not smoke and avoid smoky places

Smoking is one of the most important risk factors for the development of cardiovascular disease, as some tobacco chemicals can damage the heart and blood vessels, leading to a narrowing of the arteries, called atherosclerosis, which can lead to a heart attack.

In addition, carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke replaces some of the oxygen in the blood, increasing blood pressure and heart rate, forcing the heart to work harder to supply enough oxygen.

2. Exercise regularly

The practice of physical exercise for about 30 to 60 minutes, 2 to 3 times a week, such as swimming or walking, for example, helps control weight and improves blood circulation, which may reduce the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes.

Activities such as gardening, cleaning, going up and down stairs or walking the dog or baby also help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, especially in individuals who have some limitations to do some physical exercises.

3. Drink alcohol in moderation

The consumption of alcohol beyond the recommended and, mainly, in the long term, can damage the heart, which can cause hypertension, heart failure, stroke or infarction.

Thus, it is acceptable for men to drink up to 2 100 ml glasses of alcohol a day, one at lunch and one at dinner, especially red wine, and women 1 glass of 100 ml per day. White drinks are not recommended and red wine should be preferred because it contains resveratrol, which is even good for your health. Remembering that each individual must be analyzed individually so that the consumption of alcoholic beverages is released.  

4. Maintain the ideal weight

Excess weight is associated with high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes, increasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as stroke or heart attack. So even a small weight loss can help to lower blood pressure, lower blood cholesterol levels or reduce the risk of diabetes.

To verify that you are at the ideal weight, you must calculate the body mass index (BMI), which must be 18.5 and 24.9 kg / m2. To calculate your BMI see: Ideal BMI values .

In addition to the BMI, it is also important to assess the abdominal circumference which is useful for measuring the amount of abdominal fat, with the abdominal circumference of men being less than 94 cm and in women less than 80 cm.

5. Control blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes

High blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes can damage the heart and blood vessels, increasing the risk of developing a heart attack, stroke or heart failure, for example.

Thus, it is important to maintain normal blood pressure, that is, up to 139 x 89 mmHg, total cholesterol below 200 mg / dl and blood glucose, that is, fasting blood sugar below 99 mg / dL.

Individuals already hypertensive, with high cholesterol or diabetes need stricter blood pressure controls (around 110 X 80) and LDL cholesterol (around 100), correctly doing the treatment instituted by the doctor and the diet guided by the nutritionist.

6. Sleep well and manage stress

People who don’t get enough sleep are at a higher risk of developing obesity, high blood pressure, heart attack, diabetes or depression. Therefore, adults should have about seven to eight hours of sleep per night, and should lie down and wake up at the same time each day.

Stress, on the other hand, can cause the heart to beat faster, increasing the number of heartbeats per minute and making arteries and veins harder, decreasing blood flow. In this way, it is important to avoid being stressed, being able to resort to massages, techniques or relaxation exercises, such as yoga.

7. Eat healthy

To prevent the onset of cardiovascular disease, it is important to avoid or reduce the consumption of foods with saturated fat or trans fat, which are the two types of fat that are harmful to health and that increase the risk of heart attack, stroke or atherosclerosis, for example.

Thus, it is important to avoid or decrease the consumption of:

  • Red meats, fatty cheeses;
  • Sauces, sausages;
  • Fried foods, sweets;
  • Soft drinks, spices, margarine.

On the other hand, consumption of:

  • Fruits, vegetables;
  • Soy, flaxseed, avocado;
  • Fish, such as salmon or mackerel;
  • Nuts, olives, olive oil.

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